As mentioned in the last post, over the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to talk to non-SBC pastors about moving their church to cooperate with the SBC for the advancement of the gospel. Not all of them have locked arms with us, but several have. Inevitably, in every conversation—no matter the state—the largest stumbling block to partnering with Southern Baptists is the state convention. In the last post, I mentioned a few of reasons why I love state conventions. In this post, I’ll mention a few ways people—who I agree with—wish state conventions would change. Every pastor I’ve ever talked with about this has voiced these concerns. Perhaps they’ll stir some helpful conversations.
I love state conventions. We give to the CP. I go to the state convention. And I’d love to see these changes made. I know it will be difficult to do so and that some would consider these drastic changes. But I think there are a few key reasons why leaders who are able should consider making these drastic changes. I’ll mention them in the following post.
Baptist21 is excited to announce our first panelist for this year’s SBC lunch panel in Columbus, Ohio–New International Mission Board President David Platt.
More panelists to be named in the days ahead.
Registration will begin later this week…
Over the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to talk to several non-SBC pastors about partnering with the SBC for the advancement of the gospel. Not all of them have locked arms with us, but several have. In just about every conversation—no matter the state—the largest stumbling block to partnering with Southern Baptists is the state convention. Many times, it is the reason why a like-minded pastor will not partner with the SBC.
I know that state conventions, like any organization, need to make improvements. I’ll mention a few suggestions in the following post. But I also think state conventions give us a number of reasons to love what they’re doing. So I thought I’d mention a few of the things I’ve told those non-SBC pastors.
These are a few of the reasons I love state conventions. These are a few of the reasons why some non-SBC pastors have become SBC pastors. While I’ll mention a few changes I’d love to see, I want to be sure that I celebrate the grace of God evidence in their midst.
What would you add to this list?
The heart of Baptist 21 beats to a Christ-centered rhythm. We love Jesus and we long to see “all things united in him” (Eph 1:10). This longing to see all things united to Jesus, of course, includes the way Scripture is read. Unfortunately, it isn’t always the case that people read the Bible in a Christ-centered way, and many who would like to do so don’t know how to do so. That’s why we are pumped to see David Prince’s “Simple Guide to Reading and Applying the Bible with Jesus as the Hero.”
This resource practically equips lay Christians with the tools necessary to read and apply the Bible in light of Christ but without getting bogged down in too much technical debate. Pastors and church leaders, this would be a great resource for Sunday School Teachers, Home Group Leaders and many more in your church.
The heart of Baptist 21 beats to a Christ-centered rhythm. We love Jesus and we long to see “all things united in him” (Eph 1:10). This longing to see all things united to Jesus, of course, includes the way Scripture is read. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. That’s why we are excited to see the publication of Jon Akin’s “Preaching Christ From Proverbs.” Please read the excerpt below and grab a copy of the book:
Several years ago I received the golden opportunity of going to dinner with a scholar who is basically the yoda of Christocentric interpretation. Other students and seminary professors were there as well, and after dinner, our host indicated that we could now ask questions of this renowned scholar. I was in the process of doing my doctoral studies on the Christocentric interpretation of Proverbs, so I was extremely excited because not only was this man a guru on the topic of Christ-centered interpretation, but he had done extensive work on Proverbs and the Wisdom Literature of the Bible. So, when it was my turn I asked, “I get the big picture stuff about how Proverbs points us to Jesus, who is the wisdom of God. But, as a Pastor trying to do expository preaching, how do you week-in-and-week-out preach Christ from the Proverbs? Practically, what does it look like in the details of the text?” He sat still for several seconds, and then he replied, “Well, it seems to me that in 1 Corinthians that Paul calls Jesus ‘the Wisdom of God,’” and then he nodded his head and said, “next question.”
Needless to say, I walked away from that encounter still confused about how to preach Christ from the Proverbs. Proverbs is an interesting book when it comes to how preachers approach the task of preaching it. Lots of preachers love preaching Proverbs because they love the practical, earthy advice about daily life in the book. These pastors desire to give practical how-to sermons to their people with tips on how to manage your money, or be a better spouse, or control your tongue. Many pastors love Proverbs because they feel it avoids “deep” theology and gives people what they really need, practical tips for daily living.
However, other preachers see Proverbs as a challenge and shy away from preaching it. The expositor is leery of Proverbs because it does not lend itself to verse-by-verse preaching. After chapter 9, the book seems random and A.D.D. Proverbs also presents challenges to the gospel-centered preacher because it seems moralistic. The very reason that drives some preachers to love it, it’s earthy tone, causes other preachers to avoid it because they do not want to give a new legalism with a set of tips (aka rules) on how to be a good Christian. To gospel-centered preachers it seems that Proverbs is about moral or practical tips for living daily life that are abstracted from Christ. Are the Proverbs simply the Israelite version of “Dear Abby?” Is Proverbs simply about giving practical advice that we are to follow? Where is Christ in all of this?
As we look to the Bible, we see quite clearly that Proverbs is not about skill for living life abstracted from Christ. Instead, the Bible says that the point of Proverbs, just like all of the OT Scriptures, is to “make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim3:15). And, the Bible says that Proverbs is profitable “for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17). So, according to Paul, the purpose of Proverbs is to save and sanctify those who hear it. Those who hear the Proverbs will be saved by Jesus and made like Him!
And yet, many preachers are skeptical toward preaching Christ-centered sermons in Proverbs. One of the popular places for opponents of Christocentric preaching to look for evidence that one cannot preach Christ from all of the OT is Proverbs! They claim that attempts to preach Christ from Proverbs are contrived and do not deal appropriately with the text. So, the question remains, “Can we preach Christ from the Proverbs?” If so, how?
Jon’s new book, “Preaching Christ From Proverbs,” will “explain how a preacher can preach Christ from the Proverbs in such a way that our unbelieving hearers will place saving faith in Jesus and our believing hearers will be made like Him. It will walk through the main features of Proverbs and explain how to preach the Proverbs in a Christ-centered way.” You can get this important work here.